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Study Group on Future Design Policies to Be Established

January 18, 2023

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) has established the Study Group on Future Design Policies to further expand the use of design to contribute to the revitalization of companies and regions, resolution of social issues, and creation of new elements of our culture. The first meeting will be held on January 19.

1. Purpose

Design, which shapes our lifestyles and culture, supports the revitalization of companies and regions and helps solve societal issues, greatly contributes to the development of countries, and many countries have incorporated design into various policies. For example, countries that have developed design such as the United Kingdom and Kingdom of Denmark have added design to compulsory education and incorporated it into their citizens' skill sets. In Asian countries, such as the People's Republic of China, the Republic of Korea, the Republic of India, and the Republic of Singapore, the governments strongly promote industrial development through design.

In Japan, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry has developed various policies themed around design for almost 100 years since it established the Industrial Arts Institute in Sendai City in 1928. For example, it has promoted the export of regional crafts and researched how to improve them. After the war, they created measures to prevent plagiarism of designs, established Japan's Good Design Award, and held events such as the Design Year. These efforts covered a wide range of areas, including public awareness-raising, promotion of regional design, sensitivity, values, and design management, and service design for administrative departments.

It is expected that design will continue to be utilized and implemented in various projects and policies, and lead to the branding of Japan's uniqueness as “Japan Design” and to fostering demand from overseas, which will further contribute to Japan’s development. However, companies, administrations, individuals, and regions currently have varying levels of utilization and understanding of design.

For example, although some companies and government agencies have actively implemented design to improve corporate management and administrative services in recent years, many agencies have not yet done so. In addition, the meaning of design and the line between designers and those who are not is becoming more blurred. For instance, the development of digital tools has allowed some design skills to become democratized, and even those who may not have a specialized education in design are now able to play an active role in society as designers. Furthermore, although the use of design in various regions is attracting attention against the backdrop of the declining birthrate and aging population, most workers involved in the design field are still concentrated in urban areas, and the use of design is increasing only in a limited number of regions.

Reasons for this include the lack of opportunities for the public to be exposed to design, to realize and learn about it, and understand its significance, and there is a lack of systems for researching design trends in society and compiling and conveying the effects and other information in a comprehensive manner. In addition, regions are not sufficiently organized to make use of design.

The study group was established for the purpose of improving this situation, becoming the foundation of design utilization for companies, regions, and administrations, and fostering sufficient understanding and shared awareness of design in each citizen. It will consider concrete efforts for implementation in the design industry and various related areas.

2. Schedule

The study group is planned to be comprised of 25 members. The first and third meetings will consist of intensive discussions between five members, and the second meeting will consist of discussions on each topic between all members.

Reference Material

Division in Charge

Design Policy Office, Commerce and Service Industry Policy Group